Leatherhead & District Local History Society
2014 Programme and Calendar

for other recent years, see current programme page

Friday 17th January: Lecture: TWO HUNDRED YEARS OF SURREY COUNTY HISTORY by Julian Pooley from the Surrey History Centre.

Julian Pooley is in charge of public services at Surrey History Centre in Woking and has been a professional archivist for over twenty-five years, cataloguing records as diverse as the archive of Surrey's former mental hospitals and the garden plans of Gertrude Jekyll. His interest in Manning and Bray's history of Surrey has developed from his research into the Nichols family of printers who, in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, produced the Gentleman’s Magazine and a range of county histories and antiquarian publications. He has published widely in the field of eighteenth century antiquarian and biographical research. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and Honorary Visiting Fellow at the Centre for English Local History at the University of Leicester.

Friday 21st February: Lecture : LEITH HILL PLACE by Gabrielle Gale

Gabrielle is Visitor Operations Manager at Leith Hill Place.

Friday 21st March: ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING followed by a talk by Chris Pullan Trivia in and around the Bookhams

Chris Pullan is retired and has lived in the Bookhams since 1975. He is a member of Bookham and District U3a. His interest in local trivia started while leading walks for them and providing trivia about the places they were walking past. One of the first stories he collected was Sir Walter Raleigh's skull and its connection with West Horsley Place.

[The originally scheduled RESEARCHING MARY CHRYSTIE OF BOOKHAM AND HER FAMILY by Judith Witter, who is a member of our Society and author of the recent book on Mary Chrystie, has had to be be postponed following the death of Judith's father. Our thoughts go to Judith and her family.]

Friday 11th April, 2014: DESIGNING SOME OF DONALD CAMPBELL'S BLUEBIRDS by Donald Stevens.

Donald Stevens was the first employee of Norris Brothers Ltd., and worked on many of their innovative engineering solutions. As a design draughtsman he played a major role in the draughting of Bluebird K7 the seven times world water speed record breaker, including the design of the initial retractable spray baffles and the cockpit interior. After National Service in the RAF as a trainee pilot he rejoined the company to work with the two chief designers on the concept of the Campbell-Norris 7 (Bluebird CN7), its wind tunnel testing and design, eventually becoming project co-ordinator for the construction.

He has lectured on the design to engineering institutions countrywide. He is the author of Bluebird CN7: The Inside Story of Donald Campbell's Last Land Speed Record Car.

Members are advised to come early as there is likely to be considerable interest in this talk. Donald Stevens will be officially opening our Museum on 5th April.

Friday 16th May: Lecture BEHIND THE SCENES AT LEATHERHEAD MUSEUM by the Curator, Lorraine Spindler

Lorraine's talk will focus on a series of objects at the museum. She will ask the audience if they know what the object is and then go on to explain how the Museum has researched the object and what was discovered. This will be similar to a recent exercise run for the museum stewards but with different objects. Lorraine hopes to demonstrate that with very little information an artefact can reveal a wealth of information about local history.

SOCIETY COFFEE MORNING Wednesday 4th June, 10:00 to 12:30 in the Library at the Leatherhead Institute

A fascinating display of L&DLHS books & resources.Meet members and see some of the work they do.
Learn about: The Leatherhead Museum, Exhibitions, Talks, Outings - and our website, in particular the new on-line Archive
FREE ENTRY – COFFEE (or tea) 50p

Friday 17th September: A Special General Meeting at 7.15pm - agenda.
This will be followed by a talk on

Gordon is the immediate past President of our Society. He has been interested in industrial history for many years, researching various aspects including transport. He has been Chairman of the Surrey Industrial History Group, which is publishing his new book on the subject of this talk.


Dr Bird, the former County Archaeologist, is the author of the standard book on Roman Surrey and has directed the excavations of the villa complex in Ashtead Woods for seven years. He is now writing a comprehensive report which includes reviews of the excavations by our first chairman, Capt AG Lowther, and others.


Judith is a member of our Society and author of the recent well received book on Mary Chrystie, the Edwardian benefactress. Judith will tell us how she came to write the book and what sources she explored. This talk is the one which had to be postponed in February following the death of Judith's father.

Friday 5th December - New Event

Frank Haslam, whose innovative annual quizzes for the Friends of Leatherhead Parish Church have a firm local following,
is hosting a CHRISTMAS QUIZ for us. Tickets, which must be booked in advance, are £10 including a fish & chip supper.
Bring your own drink. There will be a raffle. Why not get a table together with your friends? It won't be a history exam!.
The Quiz will be in the Abraham Dixon Hall of the Leatherhead Institute, 7pm for 7.30pm start.
Call Fred Meynen on 01372 372930 to make your booking or click quiz booking form.
Note - there is no December talk.

17th January 2014: TWO HUNDRED YEARS OF SURREY COUNTY HISTORY by Julian Pooley from the Surrey History Centre.

A Lecture entitled Two Hundred Years of Surrey County History was given to the society by Julian Pooley at the last meeting, writes John Wettern.

A full audience of members and many guests were addressed by Mr Pooley who first explained the reasons for his interest in this topic.

Since his student days he was absorbed in history and in particular the study of old texts as well as letters which he managed to acquire and in many cases to transcribe. He found a copy of "The Victorian History of the County of Surrey", dated 1911, of which he wrote a critique.
Inevitably his attention was drawn to the two authors who were to be the main subject of his talk. Owen Manning, born in 1721, and William Bray, born in 1736. They both grew up in Surrey and became the county's leading historians.

Manning was the Rector at Godalming, an Anglo-Saxon scholar with an avid interest in local history. Without neglecting his pastoral duties he found that a study of parish records yielded much of interest. He made a study of the Domesday records for Surrey of which he undertook to write a facsimile.

This became the first episode of what was to become a history of the county. He travelled widely and met countless landowners and residents. Over 30 years he collected data on all aspects of Surrey's history. At one stage he circulated a "round robin" type questionnaire. This phase was completed by 1789.

His death came in 1801 and it fell to William Bray to attend to its publication. He was the ideal person. Bray lived in Shere and was a county lawyer with a practice in London. He had a taste for travel and research. His circle included antiquarians and academics. He was a member of The
Antiquarian Society and eventually became a Fellow.

He had all the talents needed to bring Manning's work to fruition. The final publication was to run to three volumes, the first appearing in 1804. The work was completed in 1814. During this time he visited every parish in Surrey, making copious notes. His research extended to libraries and other archive sources such as Lambeth Palace. He visited Loseley House and Sutton Place, and he corresponded with all those who he felt could provide useful historical information. He discovered John Evelyn's diary, and developed a keen interest in archaeology.

His publisher was John Nichols. However, a fire at the latter's premises was a great setback since much valuable material was lost as a result.

Volumes II and III followed in 1809 and 1814. It had taken 13 years to complete. Volume I dealt with the Domesday records and the history of Surrey churches. Volume II took the form of a historical dictionary which was continued in Volume III. The latter included references to the national census, military history and that of local gaols (jails). Railways even got a mention.

Bray was a tireless worker and was active nearly up until the time of his death in 1831. He was 95. Another of his achievements was the transciption of the Loseley manuscripts. He also helped the writers of other county histories.

The evening concluded with many interesting questions from the audience, ending with a well deserved round of applause.

Friday 21st February: Lecture : LEITH HILL PLACE by Gabrielle Gale

Gabrielle Gale, the speaker at our February meeting, trained at the Royal Academy of Music and was a founder member of ‘The Fairer Sax’, a group of saxophonists who toured the world. She gave this up, returning to England and joining the National Trust, first as a volunteer and then as Visitor Services Manager at Ham House. She was then presented with a tremendous challenge; to bring Leith Hill Place back to life.

Leith Hill Place was rebuilt for Richard Hull, who built the nearby Tower, about 1760. In 1847 Josiah Wedgwood III (grandson of the famous potter) who had married Charles Darwin’s sister, bought the house. One of their grandchildren was the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, who spent much of his childhood here but, soon after inheriting the house, he donated it to the National Trust, preferring to live in Dorking. For nearly 40 years it was leased as a school dormitory, but since 2008 it had been unused and the subject of much criticism.

Gabrielle listed the numerous problems she faced, as the only paid member of staff at the outset. Most of the surrounding land had been sold off, leaving only a small garden with no space for a car park. The house was a bare shell in a bad state of repair, with sitting tenants still in parts of it. As well as safety concerns, as a Grade 2* listed building, every change had to be agreed with both local and national authorities. There were no furnishings, nor endowment.

She set out to reassure local residents and enlist their help. DIY renovation was also helped by large groups (one from the Legal & General Assurance Society). Vaughan Williams was to be the ‘spirit of the place’: the top floor was restored as if in his childhood, with its views to the South Downs; assisted by a ‘soundscape’ of his nurse’s voice and music. The emphasis was on informality: there was a room for just sitting or playing a piano (not one borrowed from the historic collection at Hatchlands, though!). Visitors were asked to write their comments on cards rather than in a book. Up to an hundred volunteers helped, as car park marshals, welcoming at the door, baking for the self-service cafe, guiding tours of the house or assisting at special events.

Gabrielle took the bold decision to re-open as much as possible of Leith Hill Place to the public in 2013. Despite it not being included in the National Trust handbook and being rather remote, 8,000 people visited it during the 14 week that it was open last year. There was still much to do: a member of the audience suggested that the reinstatement of the Heritage (vintage) Bus which used to tour National Trust properties in mid-Surrey would be of great benefit.
Derek Renn

Friday 21st March: Talk by Chris Pullan Trivia in and around the Bookhams, following the 2014 AGM

Following the 2014 AGM was a talk by Chris Pullen from Bookham U3A entitled ‘Trivia in and around the Bookhams’. Despite the title the talk was far from trivial : it revealed many interesting facts connected with Bookham and nearby places giving answers to what many locals perhaps knew little about concerning places, people and events. In nearly every case the narrative began with the name of a person associated with the village, some famous others less so. He sketched an outline of their career, the place where they lived and most importantly how they made their mark on the locality.

As an example he cited the name Keswick, known to most by the road of that name. It turns out that this referred to William Keswick who made his fortune in the Far East and became the owner of the majestic manor Eastwick Park. He described the disappearance of the house after World War 2 and its later history as a school and the site of Southey Hall.

More of a mystery was the name Frere. This was given to six alms houses situated off Crabtree Lane. It appears that this was associated with one, Sir Bartle Frere who in the mid-19th century became Governor of Bombay and who later was a hero in the African Zulu Wars. The association here has not been unravelled.

There was an interesting story of Ada Lovelace, a mathematical genius who helped with the development of the earliest computer invented by William Babbage and after whom the computer language ‘ADA’ was named. She was the first person to write a ‘computer program., He had much to tell about the Lovelace home in Horsley and the architectural legacy
of Horsley Towers and many unique buildings nearby.

Much is known about the former owner of Polesden Lacy, the widow Margaret Greville. However there was more to learn about her and her family, not to mention the colourful story of her life at the house. She was born in 1864, was married to Ronald Greville in 1891 (he died in 1908). Her father was William McEwan who made his fortune as a brewery owner. Her social life brought many celebrities to Bookham, including royalty.

Many fascinating photos were shown to cover all aspects of this highly stimulating talk.
John Wettern

Friday 11th April, 2014: DESIGNING SOME OF DONALD CAMPBELL'S BLUEBIRDS by Donald Stevens.

Fifty years ago, Donald Campbell became the first - and probably the last - man to break both the world land and water absolute speed records in the same year, writes Derek Renn. Leatherhead Museum has a special exhibition in his honour, since he lived briefly at Priors Ford (the site of the present-day Campbell Court), just down the road from the Leatherhead Museum.

Sir Malcolm Campbell’s Bluebird K4 boat was sold as he did not want Donald to follow in his footsteps. Donald, who was planning to attempt the water speed record, had to buy it back, but commissioned Norris Brothers Ltd, an engineering consultancy, to design and develop a new Bluebird.

A large audience heard our April talk by author Donald Stevens, Norris Brothers’ first employee. Then a teenage design draughtsman, his first major job was the analysis of John Cobb’s crash in a previous record attempt. Before the days of telemetry and black boxes, the data had to be extracted from film shot from boats on each side of the run. Using ruler, protractor and slide rule, hundreds of measurements were made manually. Cobb’s Crusader had tackled the excessive “lift" problems of conventional designs by introducing rear-mounted sponsons, but the nose broke off, killing him. The Norris team moved the sponsons right forward for Bluebird. The record was then repeatedly raised from 202 to 320mph in just over a decade.

After National Service as an RAF pilot, our speaker returned to Norris’s to work on the CN7 Bluebird project for the world land speed record. The international rules required the vehicle to have four wheels (not in one line like a motor bike), be steered by two wheels, and with drive mechanisms fitted to at least two of the wheels. An aircraft turbo-prop engine offered the most powerful solution to meet these rides. CN7 had to be designed around a modified Bristol Proteus engine with the drive being taken from front and rear, with a complex exhaust system. Many aspects of the suspension and steering had to be adjustable as no scientific data was available for the 52in diameter wheels specified by Dunlop. Their large protuberant fairings added considerably to the drag. A novel aluminium honeycomb sandwich construction provided strength.

The launch of the car at Goodwood, in the presence of previous record-breaking vehicles, was somewhat fraught. The team was uncertain about the gearbox. In which direction would CN7 go? Ominous tinkling and clunking noises turned out to be caused by idling rotor blades and brake discs running cold rather than at their high operating temperatures.

ON LOAN: A model of the Bluebird on show at Leatherhead Musi Brooklands Museum, near Weybridge. A talk on the Bluebirds wa Local History Society at their last meeting

For the record attempt, the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah were chosen. The flat course including the measured mile had to take into account the curvature of the earth. Unfortunately Donald Campbell drifted into the oil slick used to mark the centre line. Bluebird slewed, and took off at over 320mph for several hundred yards. Rebuilt with a tail fin, the car managed to achieve 403mph, hut had the potential to have reached 550mph. Subsequent “absolute records” by others ignored the wheel-driven requirement. Donald Campbell had a mock-up made of a rocket-propelled Bluebird capable of reaching beyond the sound barrier to 850 mph.

Donald Stevens answered many questions from the appreciative audience including the queries: What' if smaller aluminium wheels had been used? What if carbon fibre had been available? Norris Brothers was an exciting firm in which ideas passed freely to and fro between specialist designers -“morphological thought”. He praised Campbell’s bravery.

At our next meeting on Friday, May 16, curator Lorraine Spindler will take us behind the scenes at Leatherhead Museum. She will produce a number of objects to demonstrate how much local history can be learned from a little knowledge about them. We meet in the main hall of the Leatherhead Institute (top end of the High Street) at 7.30 for 8pm. Admission costs £2
and the price includes coffee tea. Visitors will be made most welcome.

On Wednesday morning, June 4, there will be a Society Coffee Morning in the Leatherhead Institute library, open to all. Learn about the Leatherhead Museum, exhibitions, talks, outings - and our website, in particular the new on-line archive.

Friday 16th May: Lecture BEHIND THE SCENES AT LEATHERHEAD MUSEUM by the Curator, Lorraine Spindler

This lecture highlighted many surprises, writes John Wettern. Perhaps we had foreseen a glimpse of the small world contained within our diminutive museum. But it was otherwise.

Instead we learned about events that had taken place worldwide, linked nonetheless to items connected to the Leatherhead district. It was not just about artefacts seen by our visitors, but stories of people and events obtained thanks to the wealth of resources available to the museum management. Much was connected to the work to prepare for the anniversary of the start of WW1. In short it provided some answers to the question "What significance did Leatherhead have in the events that unfolded between 1914 and 1918?"

This talk was accompanied by a wealth of pictures and records culled from the archives covering both World Wars. Some of it, concerning two individuals - one, Harry Cromack, whose paybook was found in in the museum's store. Work is still being carried out to reveal his role in WW2.

Even more exciting were the Czech emigrés remembered by the people of Headley during the 1940s. Some are believed to have been associated with the assassination of the Nazi monster Heydrich.

Newspaper cuttings, census records and pictures chosen from the archive, examples of which were displayed on-screen, were all presented by Lorraine to illustrate a narrative revealing fruitful research and a host of interesting facts and stories.

There was much to tell about unusual events brought about because of the war effort, for example the influx of Canadian soldiers which some locals still remember. Noteworthy was the construction of Young Street by Canadian engineers.

Not so well known was the factory at Headley where Horsa gliders which took part in the D-Day landings were built.

In conclusion Lorraine described the preparations at the museum to commemorate the First World War Anniversary. Exhibitions will be staged on various dates throughout the Summer to mark some of these historic events. She hoped that many would visit the museum to be reminded of the world as it was during those fateful years..

This talk was the last of the current season. Meetings will resume for the Autumn season beginning on the third Friday of September. The titles of the talks will be announced later.

Friday 17th September: SURREY ROADS - FROM TURNPIKE TO MOTORWAY by Gordon Knowles.

Gordon Knowles, our immediate Past President, has been interested in industrial history for many years, especially transport. He has been Chairman of the Surrey Industrial History Group and, at our September meeting, gave us a foretaste of his forthcoming book Surrey Roads - from Turnpike to Motorway.

Packhorse trails, the first roads rather than footpaths, made a visible impact on the natural landscape. Roman roads were very well built; the major one in our area was that from London to Chichester via Ewell and Dorking, running north-south rather than east-west. When a road fell into disrepair, local landowners became responsible. In 1386, Chertsey Abbey was fined for seizing the goods of a tenant who had drowned in a pothole! Vehicle improvements in the 17th century made it possible to move heavy goods like food, timber and iron cannon to London, except in winter when the roads became impassable. Samuel Pepys lost his way twice near Cobham on his way to Portsmouth.

The solution was the creation of turnpike trusts, charging tolls spent on repairing a road, often only 20-30 miles [there were three trusts along the Portsmouth road]. The name 'turnpike' came from the pole, topped with military pikes, which formed the mobile barrier across the road. The earliest trust in Surrey (1696) controlled the road south of Reigate, the latest one (1836) was a link from Godalming to Dunsfold. The roads from Leatherhead to Dorking, Epsom and Guildford were each 'turnpiked' in 1755-58. The 'turnpike mania' lasted from 1751-72, followed by those for canals and railways, competitors to the roads.

27 toll collectors' cottages survive in Surrey, all as private houses. Most early signposts have gone, but many milestones have survived road-widening and collisions (the 'White Lady' at Sandown Park, Esher, still directs people to the Duke of Newcastle's Claremont House). A General Highways Act of 1835 began the take-over of major roads by central authority, culminating in the creation of Surrey County Council in 1889. The 'Macadam' system was to cover the road surface with loose stones, to be broken up by traffic: Gordon showed a picture of a notice requesting drivers to go slowly, so that crops were not dust-covered. In 1905, Tarmacadam was introduced: Dorking had its own tar-works.

Both the RAC and the AA originated in the county, in response to the Chief Constable (Capt.Sant)'s campaign against 'furious driving'. Ripley was notorious for police speed traps. John Henry Knight was prosecuted for driving a very early British car at 10mph in Farnham, and the annual 'Emancipation Run' to Brighton celebrates the repeal of the 1865 Act which required a man carrying a red flag to walk in front of any mechanically-propelled vehicle to warn cyclists and horse riders of its approach.

A number of town by-passes were built, often against local wishes, to cope with increasing traffic and incidentally to reduce unemployment after the First World War, creating unfocussed 'ribbon development'. Leatherhead's by-pass (Young Street) was built during WW2 by units of the Canadian army. The 1944 Abercrombie Plan envisaged several ring roads around London, one of which became the M25, completed in 1985. The last Surrey bottleneck was removed in 2011 by driving a tunnel next to the Devil's Punchbowl on the A3 at Hindhead.

In the discussion following Gordon's talk, an overgrown dual carriageway in Nonsuch Park was mentioned: was Surrey the first place in England to have concrete-based roads? The coach route to Guildford up the steep Hawk's Hill was dry all the year round, unlike the spring-line floodable Lower Road.

Derek Renn


Dr David Bird, the former county archaeologist and author of the standard book on Roman Surrey, gave us an enthralling talk on ‘The Roman villa in Ashtead Woods: a century of research’ at our October meeting, writes Derek Renn.

Dr Bird paid special tribute to the help he had received from the Corporation of the City of London Rangers who looked after the common, removing tree stumps and bringing in equipment over the seven years of excavation. Writing his final report now gave David the chance of a fresh perspective. He had just returned from a conference at Xanten, Germany, where features of the villa and bathhouse, unique in the Roman Empire, had been seen by international experts.

Ashtead woods had always been oak forest, farmed only for its timber. The villa was not the first human occupation: underlying it was a chalk floor and traces of a timber building. A triangular earthwork of bank and ditch nearby had been used both before and after the Romans.

Tony Lowther, our first president, is reported to have discovered the site in 1924 by noting pottery thrown up by burrowing rabbits. However, Roman pottery finds were recorded on the six-inch Ordnance Survey map of 1867-8 and in Paget’s book of 1873. In 1925 Mr Lowther’s colleague, Arthur Cotton, bought the manorial rights (including the common) and they began excavating. Although Mr Lowther produced interim reports, these often conflicted with each other and with his 1959 reappraisal.

It was very frustrating not to know where exactly most finds came from, like the painted wall-plaster, the Anglo-Saxon knife and pot, mentioned only briefly in other writings by Mr Lowther. The most reliable evidence was the frequent newspaper reports and the lecture notes of both Cotton and Lowther.

The bath-block - the first building to be excavated - had its main rooms provided with hypocausts (underfloor heating) which had been rebuilt with tiles lacing the flint walls. The villa itself had an added “en-suite” bath block: bathing was a Roman social event, like the jacuzzi of today The villa’s unique plan consisted of two rows each of six rooms of different sizes and joints, several with floors supported on tile pillars to allow under-floor heating and one with horizontal flue channels.

Some loose tesserae were all that was left of the mosaic pavements. Another room was completely lined with flue-tiles, with a hole cut in one side to allow fumes to escape below floor level. The only other known example of such complete “jacketting” known to the speaker was in the town baths of Lepcis Magna.

Several floors had been raised further to avoid flooding. A front corridor had been added later, with attached tile half-columns and sandstone carvings surrounding a painted inscription, together with a porch with flanking apses.

A road ran directly to the nearest point on Stane Street. In the 1960s, John Hampton extended the survey area, discovering a wall surrounding the villa site, beyond which were large Roman clay-pits and tile kilns. A recently-excavated kiln was one of one of the largest known, with a 20ft long heating duct, with cross-flues and an entrance arch still in situ.

The most remarkable products were box-flue tiles, designed to carry fumes away from underfloor heating. These carried patterns applied by a roller: over half the complete flue tiles known in Britain were found here at Ashtead.

Our speaker showed pictures of the domestic pottery found: bright red Samian ware, colour-coated indented Castor wares, a beaker made near Cologne, a mortarium stamped by the potter Albinus about 80AD, a “facepot” an incense-burner and a unique long-necked onion-shaped vessel. Some was made on the site, and a nearby pond was a Roman “puddling-pit”, used to prepare clay for use.

The volume of clay dug, and of tile “wasters”, indicated that this was a trade centre, probably operated by an army veteran, willing to experiment. The layout of the site resembled that of the works depot of Legion XX at Holt (Denbighshire) and the bath block could be paralleled at the forts along Hadrian's Wal. We may even know the owner's name: the "wolf and stag " roller-stamp (the only one with animals) also has the initials G.(aius) J.(ulius) C.


Most amateur genealogists study the history of their own family, but Judith Witter, the speaker at our November meeting, had embarked on a different project: the story of Mary Chrystie, a wealthy widow who was the third largest landowner and developer of Victorian Bookham. Rather than just repeating items from her book, Mrs Witter explained and illustrated her sources.

Starting from Mrs Christie's will in the National Archives at Kew, thence to the inscriptions on the monuments above the family graves and parochial church records both at Great Bookham and Great Dunmow (Essex), the national registers of vital events and the census, our speaker's research had included an amazing variety of other sources, including the India Office Records in the British Library, the London Metropolitan Archives, newspapers (including The Morning Post and The Railway Times), an academic project at University College, London, commercial family history websites, as well as the public registers and local societies of Scotland and Australia.

Mary Christie (and her parents) came from large families, whose family trees had been worked out (and a number of errors resolved) by our speaker. She gave us potted biographies of many of Mary's relatives.There were links with Nelson's Victory and the battle of Trafalgar, the East India Company, the abolition of slavery, the Indian Army, the Crimean War and Coutts' bank.

Mrs Witter said that the reasons for Mary's widowed mother moving from London to Bookham, where Mary rejoined her after her own short married life to a cousin, could only be guessed at. A shrewd businesswoman, Mary's wealth came from bequests, principally those of 'in-laws'. Similarly, in the absence of family papers or descendants (she had no children), Mary's reasons for devoting so much money and effort over the next 50 years to promoting temperance - abstention from alcohol ? is uncertain, although a known family 'black sheep' and a brewer relative are likely explanations.

Judith had been delighted to find a firm of solicitors in Great Dunmow still practising under the name Wade, just as Mary's mother's family had done two centuries earlier. She also showed us a painting of 'Thomas Coutts', a sailing ship which held the 'China to London and back' record while captained by Mary's father-in-law.

Judith Witter's book, Mary Christie and her family, is on sale at the Leatherhead Museum and local bookshops, price £10, postage and packing extra.

Instead of a lecture, we are holding a Quiz night (not a history test!) on Friday 5 December, starting at 7 for 7.30pm, in the main hall of the Letherhead Institute (upper end of the High Street), to be hosted by Frank Haslam (author of the popular quizzes for the Friends of the Parish Church). Tickets (including a fish and chip supper, but not drinks) are £10 in advance from Dr Fred Meynen (01372 372930). Why not make up a table with your friends?


2nd June Sunday Guided Walk Around Ashtead

Gwen Hoad, local resident and member of this Society lead a walk around the area of Ashtead south of The Street to look at interesting old buildings, meeting in the Peace Memorial Hall car park at 14.00 on Sunday 2nd June. The walk of about one and a half hours follows the route described in Barry Cox’s Ashtead Heritage walk leaflet. Comfortable footwear advised.

Owing to lack of support in recent years, no other visits were arranged this year. However, the programme committee members are open to suggestions.